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TRAVEL Q&A: Big Family, Small Room

By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, September 14th, 2008 at 11:40 am in Family Travel.

Questions have been pouring in for our new family travel guru, Donna Airoldi of TravelMuse, and we’re ready to launch this new series! We’re starting with a question about big families and small hotel rooms, and a funny but oh-so-true query about children’s attention spans aboard airplanes. Check back next weekend for the lowdown on Oktoberfest.

Baby blocks (Stock.Xchng Photos)With a husband, myself and three kids of different ages, I always have to reserve two rooms or a suite due to hotel rules and regulations. How can a family of five stay together in a great location?
– East Bay mom

Hot type A (Stock.Xchng Photos) Donna says: A growing trend has been for large or extended families to book vacation homes, apartments or condominiums for their stay. It keeps everyone in one place with more space and separate bedrooms, a kitchen for cooking meals (which saves money), and provides a more live-like-a-local experience. Among the many sites that cater to vacation rentals…

Try Vacation Rentals by Owners,, and time shares, such as World Mark by Wyndham. Sometimes you can find good deals on CraigsList too, but you have to be careful about scams. Travel Muse also ran an article, “Hotel Rooms: Get the Size Your Family Needs,” last spring that you may find helpful. Happy Travels!

Baby blocks (Stock.Xchng Photos)Why will my child watch six straight hours of TV at home, but on a plane the TV entertains her for about 3.5 minutes?

– Lamorinda Dad

Hot type A (Stock.Xchng Photos) Donna says: It’s not the TV, it’s the plane! Depending on your child, it could be any combination of these reasons: They’re confined to a limited space, which makes some kids antsy — not to mention, some adults too! Unless your family flies first or business class, the seats can be pretty uncomfortable. Also, your child could be excited about traveling to a new destination, or distracted or curious about all the strangers traveling with them. Bring a variety of toys, books and games to give them options to help keep them occupied. And keep the sugar intake down before the flight!

Got a family travel question or want to add your thoughts? E-mail it to us or click “comments” and add it here. Interested in the last Q&A? Click here for Donna’s advice on last minute trip ideas.

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No Responses to “TRAVEL Q&A: Big Family, Small Room”

  1. Jackie Burrell Says:

    Just wanted to echo Donna’s vacation rental idea. When we traveled in Costa Rica and the Yucatan the last several summers, we rented some wonderful villas and beach-side homes for less than two hotel rooms would have cost. We used for Mayan Riviera and Yucatan villas, condos and other rental recommendations, as well as hotels. For the Tamarindo beach area of Costa Rica, try

  2. Great Smartravel Vacation Deals Says:

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  3. Aimee Bolian-Faulkner Says:

    Thanks so much for including HomeAway and, in you’re September 14, 2008 blog post about “Big Family, Small Room.” Both HomeAway and VRBO are part of the HomeAway network – the world’s largest group of vacation rentals on the Internet. Because you included both as your favorite recomendations for finding vacation rentals, we thought you’d be interested in a chance to win a $5000 vacation rental getaway to a HomeAway property– on us! To participate, all you have to do is create a post explaining why you deserve a week away- and where you’d want to spend it. With over 118,000 vacation rentals in 100+ countries, I am sure you will find a vacation rental that will tickle your fancy!

    Entries are accepted now through January 7, so visit for information about the “Why I Deserve a Getaway from HomeAway” contest. The person with the best post, as voted on by your peers and other travelers, will win a $5,000 stay in the HomeAway vacation home of their choice!

    Please feel free to pass this on to any friends and family who blog! (Or ask them to vote for your entry January 8-15).

    Thanks for your time and good luck!

    Aimee Bolian-Faulkner :-)
    Phone: 601.825.9885
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